President Obama recently took time during a White House function (reestablishing the President’s Advisory Commission and White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders) to take part in lighting the White House Diya in celebration of Diwali.
“And I think it’s fitting that we begin this work in the week leading up to the holiday of Diwali — the festival of lights — when members of some of the world’s greatest faiths celebrate the triumph of good over evil.”
“This coming Saturday, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists, here in America and around the world, will celebrate this holiday by lighting Diyas, or lamps, which symbolize the victory of light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance. And while this is a time of rejoicing, it’s also a time for reflection, when we remember those who are less fortunate and renew our commitment to reach out to those in need.”
“While the significance of the holiday for each faith varies, all of them mark it by gathering with family members to pray and decorate the house and enjoy delicious food and sweet treats. And in that spirit of celebration and contemplation, I am happy to light the White House Diya, and wish you all a Happy Diwali, and a Saal Mubarak.”
(The White House Diya is lit.) (Applause.)